Here's What to Know About Ohio's Early Voting, Which Starts Tuesday

Residents of Hamilton County can vote in person at the county's Board of Elections office.

click to enlarge Hamilton County Board of Elections - photo: Allison Babka
photo: Allison Babka
Hamilton County Board of Elections

Despite drawn out legal battles over district lines for state legislative and U.S. House seats, yes, there’s still a May 3 primary in Ohio.

April 4 was the final day to register to vote in time to participate in the May 3 primary. Early voting starts April 5. Here are some of the basics.

What are we voting on?

May’s election will finalize who will represent the Democratic and Republican political parties in the 2022 elections. That includes:
  • governor
  • statewide offices (attorney general, auditor, treasurer, secretary of state)
  • U.S. House and Senate
  • Ohio Supreme Court
Some races, like the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate or Democratic gubernatorial primary, are hotly contested. Some, like the Supreme Court races, are uncontested. Depending where you live, various political subdivisions have local judicial and municipal candidates and ballot issues like school levies on the ticket as well.

What aren't we voting on?

Ohio House and Senate races. Those district lines, which form 99 state House seats and 33 Senate seats, are typically reconfigured every 10 years. However, in the maiden voyage of an anti-gerrymandering amendment added by voters into the state Constitution, the Ohio Supreme Court has rejected three maps proposed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission along party lines
State Central Committee elections for both parties missed the May 3 ballot as well. Last week, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a directive calling for elections to proceed, minus the races caught in the redistricting quagmire.

State lawmakers, who control when primary elections occur, have yet to set a date for the legislative primary contests.

How can I vote absentee?

Complete an absentee ballot request form by April 30 and mail it to your county board of elections. The board should then provide absentee ballots. The ballot can be sent by mail by May 2 but must be received by no later than 10 days after the election, so the earlier the better.

Voters should ensure they fill their applications out accurately and thoroughly, include their email and phone number, and track their ballot online, to ensure it’s counted, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

It can also be delivered to the board in person.

And early voting?

Early, in-person voting in Ohio starts April 5. It runs weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the first three weeks of April and for an extra two hours in the final week of the month. It is also available the Saturday and Sunday (April 30 and May 1) before the primary.
Do I need identification to vote?

Yes. Acceptable forms of identification include a current, federal or Ohio government-issued photo identification card; a military identification card; a utility bill; a bank statement; a government check; or a paycheck. The Ohio Secretary of State offers further guidance and specifics on its website. Identification issued by non-Ohio states, passports, insurance cards, birth certificates and social security cards do not suffice.

People who vote at their precincts without such identification can vote provisionally. Their vote will be counted if they return within seven days to provide qualifying identification.

Registered Hamilton County residents can vote in person at the Hamilton County Board of Elections office, 4700 Smith Road. The board has full election information, including dates and processes, on its website.

A version of this story originally was published by the Ohio Capital Journal and is republished here with permission.

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